Richard and Nancy Matson are the 2018 London Strawberry Festival Grand Marshals.
The Matsons moved from Mt. Gilead to London in 2005 to be closer to their jobs at The Columbus Dispatch and the many family members already living in the London area. They have actively supported local businesses, schools, and fundraisers whenever possible.
They actively became involved in the London Strawberry Festival during the 2007 event. They began their involvement while assisting two family members who were competing for the London Strawberry Festival Royalty. This was only the beginning. They quickly became actively involved in traveling with the royal court. Their support was an integral part of the program for many years. They have been well loved by the royalty and were known to most as Uncle Richard and Aunt Nancy. Many of the royalty remain in touch many years after their reign has ended.
They decided to make traveling with the royalty and improving the float their main priority. They took the court to many festivals throughout Ohio and into surrounding states. Richard decided the float needed improvements. He took a very basic, cumbersome float and created a beautiful well designed float for which the festival could be very proud.
They met with professional float builders and learned how to design the float. They asked the royalty director for permission to “decorate” and redo some things. The project was so successful that the royalty director didn’t even recognize the float when it appeared at the Circleville Pumpkin Show for the first time after being redone. The float was frequently decorated specifically for the event attended. It often received many top honors in parades. They have even assisted other festivals with float improvements.
In addition to assisting with the float and royalty they served as active board members. They helped greatly with improvements made during the festival from 2005-2017. Efforts included the shortcake tent and activities.
Richard is now retired from The Columbus Dispatch after 25 1/2 years in the engineering maintenance department. When he retired in 2011 he was the maintenance facilities manager. Nancy also worked at The Columbus Dispatch for 20 years in the advertising customer services department, leaving the company in March 2007 as advertising manager for customer services. Nancy is now a stay-at-home housewife.
They enjoy their time visiting family, volunteering whenever possible, and taking care of their small dog, Buttons Bowties. Richard enjoys building things, working on old cars and trucks, hunting and working in the yard. Nancy enjoys reading, keeping up with friends and family on Facebook and traveling.
They met while working at The Columbus Dispatch. They will be married 28 years this coming December. They have one son, Shane, daughter-in-law, Heather, grandson, Carter, and granddaughter, Kylen. They enjoy spending time with them when possible.
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